It was a phone call from Indonesia that shattered a 13-year-old Sukhbir hopes to see his father alive. Sukhbir’s father Gurdip Singh, a native of Dehradun, is facing execution in Indonesia on July 28 after being found guilty of smuggling drugs in 2004. Gurdip is one of the 14 convicts scheduled to be executed at 10 pm IST on Thursday.
Gurdip’s wife Kulwinder Kaur, 41, had been living in the narrow lanes of Mohalla Khaira of Nakodar town, 25 kilometers away from Jalandhar. The family is already in mourning and relatives have started gathering in support.
Gurdip’s father Balraj Singh takes care of Kulwinder and her children Sukhbir and Manjot Kaur. On Tuesday morning, she received a phone call from Indian Embassy officials in Indonesia who informed her that Gurdip will be executed Thursday night for his crime of smuggling drugs. The officials also made Gurdip speak with her on the phone.
“He [Gurdip] told me that though he could not come to see us all, but his body will come to us soon after his execution,” an inconsolable Kulwinder Kaur told The Indian Express. The family had appealed to Union government seeking pardon for Gurdip Singh.
On Thursday evening, Kulwinder Kaur received a phone call from Sushma Swaraj assuring her full help. “The Minister told me that she was trying her level best to ensure that Gurdip is not executed,” Kulwinder Kaur said.
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Gurdip was lodged in Indonesian jail since 2004 after he was caught on charges of smuggling heroin. Kulwinder Kaur still considers him innocent and claims he was duped by a travel agent. “Though Gurdip left home to go to New Zealand in 2002, but he landed in Indonesia. The travel agents there snatched his passport and forced him to be part of a drug cartel,” she alleged. Before moving to Indonesia, Gurdip had spent nearly a decade in Libya also as a carpenter.
“I had always been told that my father shall come home one day. It was yesterday that my mother told me that he will never return. She told me that his body will be coming in a few days. I have never seen my father. I would like to see him alive,” a visibly shattered Gurdip said. He studies in Class VII in a local school.
Sukhbir’s elder sister Manjot Kaur (17) was also not aware till date that their father Gurdip was lodged in Indonesian jail and on death row. Gurdip’s brother Gurpreet had gone to Indonesia and met him twice in 2014. “Gurdip used to tell me that he will be released from jail soon as he had already spent around 12 years in custody. But all of a sudden, we came to know that he was sentenced to death. I plead the Indonesian government that they may increase his punishment with few more years, but not kill him,” she said. With multiple cases against him, Gurdip had exhausted all his appeals.